ASU baseball to announce Phoenix Muni move

Arizona State baseball’s move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium will become official Tuesday when the school formally announces an agreement with the City of Phoenix that starts in 2015.

Officials will announce the move, which has been in the works since ASU’s partnership with the Chicago Cubs to share the team’s new spring training facility in Mesa fell apart last November. The Arizona Board of Regents in February approved a 25-year lease with Phoenix that will see ASU move into Phoenix Municipal Stadium once the Oakland Athletics move into the Cubs’ old spring home, HoHokam Park, in the spring of 2015.

ASU has played its home games at 4,000-seat Packard Stadium since 1974, but the stadium has become outdated. The cost to renovate or rebuild Packard was estimated to be upward of $10 million and perhaps as much as $20 million. Unwilling to spend that much, ASU decided to look for off-site options, first teaming up with the Cubs. That deal fell apart amid the team’s front-office changes.

In the move to Phoenix Municipal, ASU hopes to see increased attendance. The stadium, which is about three miles from Packard, has a capacity of nearly 9,000 and should create new revenue streams for ASU. With the stadium off campus, ASU will be able to more easily sell alcohol at games, which proved a boon to rival Arizona’s baseball program in its move to Hi Corbett Field last season. UA’s move was followed by record attendance numbers and a College World Series title.

ASU’s agreement with the City of Phoenix gives the school all revenue from tickets, parking and concessions at Phoenix Municipal and makes the school responsible for maintenance and operating costs.

Among the officials expected for Tuesday’s announcement at Phoenix Municipal are ASU president Michael Crow, ASU athletic director Steve Patterson, Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix city councilman Sal DiCiccio, Phoenix city manager David Cavazos and ASU baseball coach Tim Esmay. Current players will also be present for a “first pitch.”